After picking up their first away win of the season, Newcastle return to St. James’ Park to face West Ham United.
The Magpies are ahead of the Hammers, but only on goal difference. With just a four-point gap separating 13th (Newcastle) and bottom of the league (Fulham) each point is important as we approach the Christmas period.
KEY STAT: Newcastle have won each of the last three league games between these sides and have not lost at home to West Ham since 2012 in the Premier League.
Newcastle ended their miserable Monday Night Football form against Burnley earlier this week. The Magpies took an early lead when Federico Fernandez’s shot was deflected into the top corner by Burnley’s Ben Mee. Newcastle’s second involved another of their centre backs. Ciaran Clark flicked Matt Ritchie’s pacey cross into the far corner from the near post. Sam Vokes gave Burnley fans hope before half time with an edge of the box header which looped over the back-tracking Dubravka. Ritchie later produced one of the misses of the season when he hit the side netting from about a yard out from goal. Joselu would come close to securing the game for the Magpies in the 80th minute when his effort rebounded off the post, but Newcastle would hold on to the 2-1 win regardless.
Their opponents had quite a contrasting result at the hands of Manchester City. David Silva opened the scoring with a close-range finish and City were 2-0 up in the 19th minute when Raheem Sterling tapped home a simple finish after a brilliant driven delivery from Sane went across the face of goal. Sane would make it 3-0 before half time. Sterling made an un-tracked run behind Masuaku and square the ball the Leroy Sane on the volley. Sane calmly brought it down, turned and finished home while Fabianski was on the floor. Despite looking threatening at times West Ham struggled to test Ederson, producing just one shot on target all game. Sane scored again in the 93rd minute to wrap up the win for Pep’s side. Jesus floated a cross to Sane in acres of space in the West Ham box. The German brought the ball down and fired on the half volley to rub salt into the West Ham fans wounds.
Newcastle’s recent form has been excellent and has lifted the side out of the relegation zone and up to 13th in the league. They won two home games on the bounce before the international break and will be hoping to continue a good run of home wins against West Ham. The Hammers meanwhile have picked up six points from their last six games, with just two away points in their last three road trips. West Ham had a poor start to the season but have bounced back into 14th but ever since they have struggled with any consistency and thus are sat just above the drop zone.
Both sides have had some trouble scoring goals this season. West Ham are averaging just above a goal a game but are averaging close to two goals conceded each game. Newcastle had some offensive issues early on this season but have managed five goals from their last three games on the way to three consecutive wins. The sense then is that the result will be decided on Newcastle’s offense vs West Ham’s defence – both have had their issues this season, but which one will come undone on the day?
Newcastle predicted line-up: Dubravka, Yedlin, Fernandez, Clark, Schar, Ritchie, Diame, Ki, Kenedy, Perez, Rondon
West Ham predicted line-up: Fabianksi, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku, Obiang, Noble, Anderson, Antonio, Perez, Arnautovic
Predicted final score: Newcastle 2 – West Ham 2